Tickets for our show at Achitekt in Butler, NJ next month w/ Like A Storm and One Hundred Thousand are now available through our DFH store.
Tickets for our show at Achitekt in Butler, NJ next month w/ Like A Storm and One Hundred Thousand are now available through our DFH store.
The deluxe version of The Sixes has arrived.
This September, we will be releasing a Deluxe Version of “The Sixes” contain the original release, as well as a couple acoustic versions of songs from the EP in addition to the whole release in instrumental format.
1. Turning a Blind Eye
4. The Blackest Skies
6. Leave The Light On
7. The Blackest Skies (acoustic)
8. E-Motionless (acoustic)
9. Turning a Blind Eye (acoustic)
10. Turning a Blind Eye (instrumental)
11. E-Motionless (instrumental)
12. Recquiescat / The Blackest Skies (instrumental)
13. Lifespan (instrumental)
14. Leave The Light On (instrumental)
Preview the acoustic version of “The Blackest Skies” here:
Being on this tour has been quite the experience…certainly one to remember. We’ve met some incredible fans and bands. It’s reassuring to see so many people out there that love to rock and support live music. And knowing that you all back home are pulling for us means the world. Without you, none of this would have been possible. With that said, it’s only fair that we keep our DFH-family informed of all things Dead Fish Handshake. Unfortunately, we were forced to re-route some of our tour dates due to unforeseen circumstances. Our trek out to the midwest is no longer on the schedule. Our apologies to those who live in the areas that we are unable to visit at this time. We will do our best to get back out to you at a later date. We managed to schedule some dates up the east coast as we make our way back up to NJ and are planning another leg of the “Leave The Light On” tour to go with our current dates in NJ, PA & CT. Thank you all for the incredible support. See you soon.
Been a little busy as of late but recently had a chance to reflect on what it is we do and the amazing people that allow it to happen. As you know, we hit our Kickstarter goal, a hefty number… and I can’t put into words what that means and how it makes me feel. For all the detractors (and there are plenty), there is a substantial number of people here, there and everywhere that push incredibly hard to see us succeed. And in a time where the music biz isn’t what it used to be, I sincerely mean it when I say that you make it all worth it. Success is truly in the details. Thank you so much for all you do.
Interview with Dead Fish Handshake: A Lasting Impression
—by Andrew Magnotta, June 19, 2013
In time with the re-release of its most recent EP, The Sixes, a bold, hearty breath of polished rock and roll, Dead Fish Handshake are taking their act on tour for the first time. The release marks the beginning of a new chapter in the band’s life, while simultaneously nodding to their origin as an acoustic duo made up of guitarist Rob Ferreira and singer Matt Paul.
With bassist Darren Furman in tow and original drummer Matt Biehl back on board after being out of the band for over a year, the group of NJ and New England rock stalwarts is poised to make the biggest moves of its career.
Two (well, sort of three) releases into their career, the band had a good thing going to start but has showed supreme improvement to this point; something Rob credits in large part to Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery, whose keen insight into composition proved invaluable during the production of The Sixes. Rob’s insightful chord layering, crafty riff writing and superior Les Paul tone have always led the way for Dead Fish Handshake, but on The Sixes, with the help of Clint, the rest of the group rose to meet him.
On the way back home from a trip to Vintage Vinyl, Rob took a call from The Aquarian to talk about the constant development of Dead Fish Handshake, the genesis of the band’s summer tour and putting together guitar tracks in the studio.
How often do you turn on WSOU and hear Dead Fish Handshake?
Well, I’ve definitely heard it a few times. I listen to WSOU at work online and whenever I get a chance in the car. I’ve heard it a couple times for sure. Every once in a while, I’ll get a text from a buddy of mine saying they’ve heard it. It’s definitely an awesome feeling to hear your song on the radio. That never gets old for me.
What’s the longest tour the band has done?
The most the band has ever done is a three or four-day weekend type of thing.
One of the things that’s real special about what we have in Dead Fish Handshake is that we’ve all been in bands for years. In a few years that we’ve been together, we’ve been able to do a lot of things that we’ve never done in previous bands. That’s a really cool feeling, and it feels good to do it with your friends.
We’re going as far west as Texas. We’re starting Florida. We have a couple dates there. Then we’re running through Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. That’s as far west as we’re going, but then we shoot up north, through the Dakotas and then back east through Illinois and Ohio. It’s like a big C until we have the homecoming in late July.
What’s the status of your next release? You mentioned to me a while ago that you might re-release The Sixes with bonus tracks.
Right. We’re actually in the process of tracking acoustic versions of the songs. One thing that people don’t know—or that people who have caught on recently wouldn’t know—is that [the band] started initially with [singer Matt Paul] and me acoustic. We’ve done a couple shows like that.
We did a show at Bergen PAC with just Matt and me acoustic, opening up for Ed Kowalczyk. We weren’t sure at first how the songs were going to translate in an acoustic setting and it ended up being great. So we thought it’d be awesome to do an acoustic EP type of thing. But I didn’t really want to do an acoustic EP and suddenly make The Sixes an old thing, like the “old record.” So we thought we’ll just do a couple songs off the record acoustic and then do a digital re-release.
I’m not a big fan of re-releases in general. They kind of feel sometimes like they’re a cash grab. But in this day of iTunes, you don’t necessarily have to do an album-only thing. But people who already have the record and want the new songs, they can just go and get those songs. That’s the beauty of the digital age.
So we’re looking to do that. We’re going to release some new tracks with The Sixes to coincide with the tour. We have that Kickstarter thing going and one of the things we’re planning is that we’ll do a covers EP, just acoustic covers. And we’re looking to do that when we get back. We’ve been writing too, so then we’ll think about pre-production for the new record.
How many songs did you end up writing for The Sixes? You strike me as a guy who has tons of riffs and songs lying around just waiting to be completed.
Yeah, we had a bunch of stuff. We probably had anywhere between nine or 12 songs that we wrote strictly for The Sixes. We had some old songs lying around too.
When we did the first record [Across State Lines, 2010], it was more of a collaboration between Matt and me. Then as the full band started playing together, we started coming up with ideas as a group. So we didn’t want to grab those old ideas [from Matt and me] and redo them. We had this writing period where we weren’t really playing out, but we were focusing on writing. Then we started demoing that material and giving it to [producer Clint Lowery].
There were some ideas that he thought needed a little bit more tender love and care, and then others where he had some ideas. So I would say, from nine or 12 songs, we narrowed it down to [the six tracks] that ended up being on The Sixes.
Do you think any of those songs will show up on a future record?
I would say there’s a lot of stuff there that I love, but working with Clint, we learned a lot. We took, in my opinion, a really big step creatively for us. We’re not reinventing the wheel or anything, but what Clint was able to pull out of us I’ll never forget.
Even the new stuff that we’ve been writing feels different. We’re using those learning experiences and those hints and things we learned from Clint, from just talking and working with him, on the new material.
So I’m not sure that the stuff we wrote before doing The Sixes would make a new record because that seems like the record that would have fallen in between The Sixes and Across State Lines. We don’t want to take that step back; we want to keep pushing ourselves creatively. We want to outdo the last record. It would be silly to go back at this moment.
Why did you name the tour after the song “Leave The Light On?”
We talked about hitting all these different areas we’ve never been. This is our first tour and we want to make an impression on the people that we do encounter on the road. “Leave The Light On” was kind of a metaphor for leaving an impression on who it is that we meet out on the road and who it is that we play in front of. Hopefully it means the same to the people we meet along the way.
Is there one moment at those Architekt sessions with Clint that comes to mind as a paradigm shifting moment for you or the band?
I think it was just being in the room and the times when Clint was in the room with us. There were a couple times he strapped on a guitar. It was like, “Wow, Clint Lowery is jamming on our songs with us.” That was a holy crap moment.
I’ve had the feeling before when listening to songs by other bands where something about it gives you goose bumps. I always said I don’t think I’ll ever feel that way about a song that I wrote because I watched it grow. By the time a song I wrote is done, I’ve seen all the imperfections along the way.
But when I heard The Sixes after [engineer Mike Ferretti] mixed it and gave it to us, it was that feeling. That was very special personally.
One thing I noticed recently when listening to the two records is that there aren’t really any guitar solos on The Sixes. What was the reason for that?
I’ve never been a shredder. My favorite guitar players are people like David Gilmour from Pink Floyd and The Edge from U2, who use a lot of different chord phrasing or layering. So I think I kind of took a little from them. I was just focused more on layering of guitars and how [multiple tracks] play off one another. There’s a brief solo at the end of “Turning A Blind Eye.” On “Leave The Light On” there was a solo, but we were changing some vocals around and we ended up putting a quasi-last chorus over the lead guitar track, so it sounds like I’m noodling a little beneath Matt’s vocal. I play that solo live; we do an extended version of that song.
Were you also thinking about what you can do live?
I’ve had countless conversations where people have said, “If you can’t do it live, don’t do it in the studio.” And I completely disagree. Imagine all the incredible music we’d be missing if all the four-piece bands in history only recorded one guitar track. I think there’s a time and place for everything, and in the studio I’m totally okay with any instrument being layered to that extent.
When we’re writing a song, at the very primitive stage, we’re doing it in a room with three or four guys. It’s working in that way. It’s working as a three or four-piece. So I know that later on, when you play it live, you can find a way to get that song across without all the extra ear candy that might be on record.
I’ve seen it done over the years. And sometimes people might want to go to the show and hear things exactly how they are on record, and I appreciate that, but I also think that if you’re going to go and basically just hear a louder version of what’s on record, it’s not as special.
If doing it live means the challenge of trying to make it work, we’ll make it work.
Dead Fish Handshake’s latest EP, The Sixes, is available on iTunes and through the band’s website. They play Architekt Music in Butler, NJ, on July 27. For more information, go to deadfishhandshake.com.
A little reading to go with your breakfast.
Dead Fish Handshake’s infectious intensity influences and inspires the listener while taking them on an emotional ride always cushioning each sharp turn with protective guitar progression and soothing each burn with cool lyrical intoxication. Wrapped in respect for the alternative 90s era, Dead Fish Handshake offers a sound so fresh and original it begs to be acknowledged independently while forcing you to admire the evolution of sound. The lead singers deep and sultry baritone vocal seduces the tempting guitar and the product is the perfect arrangement of dreamy story telling that erupts into an explosive textured sound, filthy and fervent, while completely scathing rock. This Molotov cocktail of blues, rock, and grunge, produces a sound quietly rigid and rough with a proud flaming ferocity of yesteryear. The fellas are hitting the road this summer to take their sound to the masses. Breaking free of the East Coast Metropolitan area will allow the boys a unique opportunity to excel and promote an already successful reputation and a well-received sophomore album.
With a sound all its own and a tangible feel of compassion and vulnerability, DFH’s debut attempt Across State Lines offered the band to its immediate fans as a safe place to rest while wrestling with emotions too intense to assume others shared. Singer Matthew Paul extends his lyrical hand and grabs firmly onto the feelings all so universally accepted yet whispered in a crowd. Music, the excellent explosion and blending of hard rock and roll and soft sentimental lyrics, is sometimes exactly what the doctor ordered. Screw pills. Screw therapy. Pop in your favorite cd and vibe from beginning to end. Dead Fish Handshake cures what’s ailing you every single time. Packed with powerful yet haunting melodic lyrics, penetrating guitar riffs, and pulsating drum beats, its hard outer shell slowly peels open with each original song and exposed is the true talent of experienced musicians bleeding real and raw rock to their core. The result is The Sixes; a rock rooted soundscape with the perfect rise and fall of the simple and the abstract, the need and the want, and the lost and the found. This second attempt solidified the DFH sound but still gave them room to experience and grow. It allowed fans of all creeds to find and follow them.
Add Clint Lowery (Sevendust/Hello Demons Meet Skeletons) as producer and Architekt Music Recording Studio (1 Boonton Ave, Butler, NJ) as the backdrop to this already ambitious band and The Sixes is a product that symbolizes passion, power, and a prevalence to not only succeed but also to surpass. Hits like “Turning a Blind Eye” and “The Blackest Skies” taunt the listener with a pace like an excited heart beat and lyrics that sooth and calm the highest of emotions at the same time. Dead Fish Handshake effectively exhibits power and conviction behind each mesmerizing song and offers a musical journey dotted with gut wrenching ballads, full of passion yet insulated with masculinity, and melodic crispness attacked by genuine authentic rock riffs. Alluring darkness and enticing reality in lyrics drenched in truth and kerosene ignite into fiery flames with the smash of the drums and burn hotter and brighter with each inescapable and poignant chorus. With words so tangible you swear you can grab onto them and suffocate the pain while trying to hold onto the slippery words of comfort and compassion, “Leave the Light On” and “E-Motionless” become the soul of the album. Matthew Paul, in a statement on their website (www.deadfishhandshake.com) said, “And as silly as it sounds my heart smiles when you all tell me how much you connect with what we do. Those songs are about pure misery and defeat and you all bring such a different positive outlook to it and I try to pay you all back by getting on a stage and being a voice for things maybe everyone else wanted to say but could never find the right words.”
The “Leave the Light on Tour” will kick off in Florida, circle up as far west as North Dakota and close with shows back home in New Jersey and Rhode Island, respectively. Dates are slowly popping up on their website and social media sites. If ever there was a band excited to meet new fans and firmly shake some hands (no pun intended) it would be these guys. They are by far some of the warmest and kindest rock and rollers I’ve ever met and know that their special brand of fan centered band will go over very well throughout the rest of the country. They are one of the best kept East Coast secrets and will soon become a national treasure. -
Unfortunately, it takes more than hopes and dreams to gas up a van and fill up a rockers stomach. Such as life, right? The boys said, “As most of you know, and have seen up close and in person, being in a band is not as glamorous as it looks. The reality is, we are about to cram in a van, have a steady diet of non-perishable food items, sleep in Walmart parking lots, and pray that it rains so that we can shower! All so we can bring you our special brand of good ol’ rock n roll! Combine all of that with some overwhelming overhead expenses and you have a recipe for living the dream!” Dead Fish Handshake has created a Kickstarter account as an interactive way to be a part of this project and to aid in their attempt to tour the country. Be a part of this journey and contribute whatever you can. These guys have it, and they are attracting attention from the industry. Be a part of it too. You don’t have to go broke. Just donate what you can and support creativity, local music, and all around a great group of guys. Best part is that each donation comes with some very cool incentives ranging from never-before-released music to private shows, to signed gear!
But hurry up before it’s too late. This project must be funded by July 1st. Take this opportunity to be a part of something. Something great! The sound is unique, the guys are real, and the “Leave the Light On Tour” will be a guaranteed home run. Step up to the bat. You’ll never miss with this band. Visit their Kickstarter page here: www.kickstarter.com/projects/deadfishhandshake.
~Stina Marie Harris
Haven’t been here in awhile…Just thought I’d give a little update on what’s going on in DFH…
If you didn’t know, it’s been a year since the official release of “The Sixes”. So, to coincide with that, we are celebrating by releasing a digital only deluxe version that will include a few acoustic versions of previously released songs. Just got out of the studio doing vocals on these versions and it’s just really cool to hear them like this. I’ve sung these songs a thousand times but I love what we did with them stripped down. Hopefully you will too. Should be out for sale in a few weeks.
So what’s next…well, needless to say, we can’t wait for this tour. First up…Florida. We are so lucky to have this opportunity to tour. It’s weird because I haven’t given myself a chance to enjoy it yet. I know that sounds strange but if you know me well it makes perfect sense. It’s been so hard getting everything together to do this right. Not complaining. But it definitely drains you. We need to thank all of you everywhere for doing what you do to help us out. Whether it’s by sharing a link, giving us a place to sleep, or the gifts we’ve received, or by donating to our Kickstarter fund, we are just grateful for all the random acts of kindness. It’s very encouraging at times when we thought we weren’t gonna be able to pull everything off. So that it I guess…airport is calling my name.
I’m looking forward to the shows and keeping up with everyone over the next month. Hope to see you all at some point along the way. There are some things to look forward to after the tour as well…We’ll be releasing a new song and an acoustic covers EP. They are both included right now as rewards on our fundraiser when you donate. And for what’s it worth to anyone this early, we have already begun writing for the next DFH record.
So thanks again for the momentum everyone. We love ya! -MP